Sunday, June 15, 2014

Why Hollywood Can't Tell the Difference Between a Dragon and Wyvern

A crisis is on our hands, for at least some of us.  Hollywood and other companies are in big trouble.  They have committed the unholy crime of distorting culture.  How.  Dragons. 

Don't get me wrong, I like Game of Thrones.  I really do.  What I have a problem with is that everyone thinks that Game of Thrones has dragons in it.  There they are wrong, and George R. R. Martin should have known better than that.  Dragons are four limbed two winged creatures.  They have two forearms, two hind legs, and two bat like wings.  A wyvern is a two limbed two winged beast.  It has two hind legs, absolutely no forearms, and two wings. 

Hollywood lies people!  Ever since Harry Potter, those crazy heads have constantly mixed up dragons with wyverns.  Skyrim and Game of Thrones are two very obvious examples.  Examples where they got it right are Dragonheart and Eragon. 

To some and many, they may not care.  To someone whose favorite character that he wanted to be friends with as a child was four limbed two winged dragon that could talk and was friendly, it really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really MATTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's not just that.  I worry that the populace will think that wyverns are dragons when they are really not dragons at all.  It's draconic but it is not a dragon.  Consider it as a species within the draconic family.  It's like how all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. 

Why and how has Hollywood gotten this messed up, I have no idea.  Perhaps as you will see below they will utter the excuse, "It's artistic interpretation!" in a whiny nasal voice, to which I say, you scully naves, you have no knowledge of true culture!  I fear they will say, the computer animation simulation works more to realistic terms if the "dragons" don't have forearms.  To which I say, What about Toothless.  He's got four limbs and two wings.  You were saying? in a mocking tone. 

Some of you may disagree with me.  Some of you may argue it's an artistic interpretation, That it is a mere choice of representing something that isn't even real.  You may say, they're all dragons in my book.  Well your book is missing some very important pages.  Forgive my bluntness but I can't allow such...whatever it is to go on without fixing it.  It's wrong.  Simple as that.  If an object has a specific name you cannot call it something else.  It's wrong. 

You still don't care.  Fine.  I get it.  But I cannot allow this to go on.  Dragons are not wyverns and wyverns are not dragons.  The only way I'm going to fix this is by writing something that will show you my vision of what they are supposed to look like.  I hope that will fix it. 


People of the world.  We cannot allow this to occur.  This a terrible accident.  Will we allow fellow citizens to continue walking about this earth ignorant of the truth?  Never!  We must fight back and teach them the lore and legends and features about dragons, and sue Hollywood's butt off for doing it wrong! 

This depends on you fellow readers.  Keep telling people the truth about how dragons really look.  Hollywood! I'm watching you.  Be on your guard, cause this dragon's got a lot of firepower ready to blow its top!!!!  You better run!!

Starvix Draxon

A Game of Dragons?!

A Game of Dragons?!  What's this all about?!  All this riff raff saying how dark it is.  I've read two reviews, one in the Houston Chronicle, one in Time Magazine.  I'm absolutely terrified!  What does any of this mean? 

I guess what really irks me is that they're labeling it A Game of Dragons.  That to me is just... I don't know, kind of weird or rather wrong.  It shows how crazed society is about Game of Thrones.  Don't get me wrong, I like Game of Thrones...even, though, I, haven't, really, watched it, yet.... Awkward Silence.

I guess it just sort of scares me that people would compare How to Train Your Dragon 2 a children's movie, (supposedly) to an extremely adult television show.  I haven't seen the film yet and now I'm very nervous to even see it.  I'm frightened because I worry that like almost all sequels it will flunk and plunder and just be an utter disgrace. 

I hope I'm wrong and I still want to see it.  I will give a film review of it as soon as I see it. 

Starvix Draxon

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Maleficent Film Review

I went to see Maleficent a couple of days ago.  This will be my review on the film.  Overall I enjoyed the film.  The visuals were stunning, incredibly detailed and beautiful.  The costuming was absolutely superb, especially Maleficent's costume.  The acting was excellent, especially Angelina Jolie. 

My thoughts on the storyline however, are indeed a bit jumbled.  I thought their take on the storyline was very well thought out.  However the film seemed to move quick.  It's something I've noticed lately with Fantasy films.  They seem to be all action and no reflection.  I will have to see how the How to Train Your Dragon sequel fairs.  Nonetheless it felt a little fast paced.

Now I'm one of those people who usually like the original better.  I won't spoil anything.  Well I have to almost because the ending was interesting.  So SPOILER ALERT, Maleficent lives and no longer is evil.  It was all King Stephan.  The curse breaks when Maleficent feels guilty about cursing Aurora and wishes for forgiveness. 

There is an interesting aspect to this conclusion.  What it does is it prevents a simple message from spreading.  The kiss of true love.  Feminists will love this, or anyone who wants to be strong.  This is not an insult, it's just something I figured.  It deconstructs the message that women need men in order to be saved, aka, the kiss of true love.  Another scene that fosters a more masculine greed is that Stephan steals Maleficent's wings for sake of power.  Maleficent ends the fight between the two near the end of the film.  He tries to finish it and in the end plummets to his death. 

The character Diaval was very interesting.  I like how whatever he transformed into be it wolf or dragon had a crow like look to it.  Perhaps this is why I am forgiving that the dragon did not have four limbs and two wings.  Believe me, I was not the least bit pleased about that.  However, I can overlook it.  The dragon was cute though.  Very well done, despite that- oh whatever!

I guess my ultimate conflict is that I'm not sure how to feel about the ending.  Maleficent is probably, other than Chernobog, the most terrifying and most evil of all the Disney villains.  Ursula and Jafar come close, but not nearly as close.  Maleficent is a subtle villain.  Though I love the complexity of how Maleficent became evil, I thought that the ending of her turning good took away from that concept we have of her as a villain.  At the same time I think it works for this interpretation and story.  I always knew she was a fairy, but I sort of wanted to explore who her parents were.  I always figured her father was a dragon, probably because of the horns.  Then again I've seen drawings of fairies with horns... I think. 

In the end I think the movie was well done and contained elements that bear witness to the original film.  Despite its minor conflictions with the original, example: the dragon in the original had four limbs and two wings and was Maleficent, I still think that film performed excellently and that everyone should at least go to see it.  I give it 8 out of 10 dragon points.  

That's it for this review.  Find more in my blog.  Keep reading everyone. 

Starvix Draxon

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Boldface Conference Coming Up

Hey everyone!  Guess what I'm doing next week, I am going to the Boldface conference!  It's a writer's conference hosted by the Undergraduate Literary Magazine Glass Mountain.  Faculty workshop leaders are graduate students from the UH Creative Writing Program and we have guest writers for the categories of Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction. 

I look forward to it.  I sent in a piece that is absolutely disastrous and hopefully fellow writers will have good comments.  I hope the little master classes as they call them will be exciting and informative and that I will have fun doing it. 

Well that's all I have to say.  More like a journal entry isn't it. 

Take care!

Starvix Draxon

Friday, March 21, 2014

Maleficent Trailer 3

Here is the new trailer for the Maleficent film.  I am so psyched!!!  I can't wait to see this film.  Wait a minute!  How many limbs did that dragon have!  It better be four limbs and two wings!  They get that wrong and I'll be furious!

Here it is!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Is Houston a Polis? What is a Polis?

A Polis is a city state that is completely autonomous and takes orders from no one else.  They are completely self governing.  So then... Is Houston a polis?

No.  Though Houston has its own local government, Houston also has to obey the orders of the state of Texas and the White House government.  Houston therefore is not autonomous and therefore cannot be a polis in the Greek's eyes. 

And that's your little history trivia for the day!

Starvix Draxon

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dragon Comics: Run, Run, Away!!!

Remember this stuff is copyrighted.  No copying my drawings!  Else, I KILL you! 

Starvix Draxon

Dragon Comics: Axel the Food Thief

The yelling of "Bread!" is a little joke that I'll write in another post at some point.  It's actually quite funny.  If you are wondering, it is meat in Axel's mouth.  He has the... "Oh shit!  I've been caught!" look.  I remember drawing that.  That was fun.  Remember, this stuff is copyrighted.

Starvix Draxon

Dragon Comics: Axel, Leon, Kaira, Trevor

Not sure what's happening here.  But it looks like something's broken.  This is an early work.  You can tell because if you compare it to the previous post, I haven't developed the snout part well enough yet.  Either way I think it's funny what I've done here so enjoy the comic.  It's about two to three years old I think.  No copying by the way!  Copyright!  It's mine.  You copy it.  I KILL you!  Enjoy.

Starvix Draxon

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dragon Comics: Wake Up Axel

Just so everyone knows.  This is my drawing.  No one may use this photo without my permission. 

Why we read Harry Potter

I was bothered by something a friend of my friend said one day.  He criticized the seventh book of Harry Potter for having silly plot errors on the horcruxes, and the sudden emergence of deathly hallows being so unnecessary, and how it took away from the story. 

Personally I think that's ridiculous for two reasons. 1) It actually works out just fine.  2) That's not why we read Harry Potter. 

What I mean by that is literally that's not why we read Harry Potter.  We don't read Harry Potter just because of magic and plot, and the semantics of magic and plot, and how magic works.  That was what that friend was talking about.  The friend was criticizing the magic system.  That was his justification of criticizing the final installment of the Harry Potter series. 

Believe me when I say that is not how to critique a Fantasy book.  It really isn't.  It's a disgrace.  The ones who analyze and attempt logicize the magic system are the ones who are ignoring everything else that's far more important.  If they keep it up, they'll be asking questions like, "Well how does Voldemort use the killing curse?"  You have to mean it, says Mad Eye Moody book four. 

"But how do you mean it?" We can't tell you because we don't know.  J.K. Rowling probably doesn't know it either.  It's magic.  It's not supposed to make sense. 

"But why didn't Sirius Black use Protego on Bellatrix Lestrange's Curse Reducto that shoved him into the wall?" I don't know!  Timing?  If we keep asking these questions, we'll begin to wonder how does Harry manage to learn a Patronus faster than everyone else, why does everyone else struggle with spells and then suddenly are magically able to perform them when thrown into the action?  How does it work?  How does all this magic work?  If we knew how magic works, it wouldn't be magic...It would be science.  And that's a problem right there.  It's magic...It can't be logicized.  If we try to argue that then it looks as if the author is breaking their own magic rules.  But here's the catch.  The author has to break these rules in order to tell a story. 

J.K. Rowling has to tell a story.  Though the uniqueness of the magic in Harry Potter plays a role, the magic isn't the only reason why we read Harry Potter.  We read Harry Potter because of the uniqueness of the setting.  Diagon Alley's many shops can be related to the many pedestrian zones found in Europe, littered with small kiosks, flowershops, jewelry stores, and more.  The Daily Prophet is a newspaper, much like our own.  Hogwarts itself is relatable to children because it's school.  It just teaches magic.  But everything else, classes, lunch periods, library studying, classrooms, lessons, and everything are all relatable.  Quiditch is very much like football.  The foods are full of variety and uniqueness.  The features of Harry Potter's world are relatable in some way or another to our own.  It is the invention of J.K. Rowling's mind, the uniqueness of vivid detailed imagery and creative play, the details within the setting that give life to the world of Harry Potter. 

It is also the characters.  All the characters, even the minor ones, have some unique complexity to them or at least a personality aspect that make them come alive.  Rowling's dialogue comes alive in many unique ways that bring complexity and life to the characters.  She gives them unique names, something that Dickens would do.  She creates lines of dialogue that fit each character perfectly.  She captures real emotions and real feelings and real personalities that exist in our everyday world and she does it so with a high vocabulary. 

This is why I think J.K. Rowling is neither a children's writer nor an adult writer.  Though her intended audience is children, she speaks to a thousand voices who grew up with her works both young and old.  Her vocabulary and sentence structure far exceeds your average teen adventure novel and paranormal romance.  Her story is paced not at thriller pace but rather a calm detailed joyous pace that takes pleasure in the details and complexities of the real world.  Her works speak of crucial themes that children and even in away adults go through every day of their life.  Love is a crucial theme, love and how evil is in fact created not born with.  There are so many possibilities to analyze Harry Potter.  We should start treating this great series with a little bit more respect.  If we follow the guidelines that I have set forth here, perhaps we might be able to start taking Fantasy Literature a little more seriously. 

And on that note, that ends this post.  This is a mere summary of an idea I intend to work with, therefore, hands off to everyone else.  This copyright is enforced by the Draxon Industry.  If you break this, you will be haunted by dragons and werewolves for the rest of your life! Ha, ha!

Keep reading everyone!

Starvix Draxon

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sumer and Akkad

During the third millennium, Sumerians and Akkadians emerge.  Sumerians are the most important of the two.  They kept writing accounts in temples and palaces which composed religious and literary texts.  They also developed Sculpture, architecture, religious imagery, and literary styles as well as views on kingship, law, and society.  This all roughly occurred in 2900-2300 B.C.  The Sumerians also began arithmetic, astronomy, botany, and medicine.
All cities revolved around the temple with a priest ruler.  Eventually they separate into a secular ruler a ruler in war.  This led to the rise of kingship.  The palace and temple were of course right next to each other.  The kings were representatives of deities and would commission and support the construction of temples. 
Akkad is a city that became an Empire around 2300B.C, founded by King Sargon.  They spoke a Semetic language.  Akkadians borrowed from the Sumerians, script religious imagery, scientific principles and literary styles.  It did of course contain it's own cultural elements such as its own deities though they are sometimes identified with Sumerian Gods.
The Kings would call themselves King of the Four Quarters of the World, and had themselves deified, yet they were unable to prevent the local revolts and rebellions. 
We then have the Sumerian Renaissance 2100-2000B.C
with the Kings of Ur also known as the "Third Dynasty of Ur" who create another Empire. There are actually 100,000 clay tablets that inform the history of the Empire. 
This Empire of Ur was overthrown by invaders known as Amorites.  They took over the river valleys and cut off grain supply.  Around the same time Egypt begins to suffer from doubts, so do the Mesopotamians. 
That's it for this post. 

Third Millennium: Early Bronze Age: Old Kingdom of Egypt

The Old Kingdom occurs from 2600-2150 B.C.  You actually have two ways to divide Egyptian History: Dynasties and Kingdoms. 

An Egyptian priest named Manetho wrote a history of Egypt in Greek that divided everything into dynasties, a dynasty being various royal houses.  In modern terms you have three Egyptian periods.  Old, Middle and New Kingdom. 

Early Dynastic Period: 3000-2600
Old Kingdom: 2600-2150 B.C
Middle Kingdom: 2000-1800
New Kingdom: 1550-1100 B.C
Late Period: 750 B.C - 1992 A.D or C.E in common terms. 

Lower Egypt is Nile Delta, Upper Egypt is south of Delta

The Egyptian King was called "Lord of the Two Lands" and wore a double crown.  Here!  I'll even show you a picture of the three different crowns of Egypt. 

Pretty neat, ja? 

Now the Old Kingdom was the time when the pyramids were constructed.  The earliest pyramids were made out of mud brick, the bigger ones were made out of stone.  The largest ones were built during the fourth dynasty around 2500B.C.  These pyramids were built in Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt.  What we can learn from these great architectural feats is that the king was really powerful, and the people after all were willing to serve their king who was a god born into this world.  Unfortunately the Pharaoh begins to lose power to his provincial governors who were granted land as "salaries" which eventually led to a removal of power from the King.  Also around this time the Nile starts to dry up.  Famines begin and Egypt begins practicing artificial irrigation. 
And that's our lecture on the Old Kingdom. 
As a reminder these sources come from An Introduction to the Ancient World second edition by L. Ed Blois and R.J. Van der Spek  I am not stealing this info.  This is to help me study for a midterm. 
Starix Draxon

Birth of Civilizations: Stone Age to Neolithic Period: Rainfall vs Irrigation:

Civilizations begins along three major rivers: The Euphrates and Tigris in Mesopotamia now know as Iraq, and the Nile River now known as Egypt.  These are known as river valley civilizations. 
But when on the timeline does civilization begin.  Well it goes something like this. 
We have the Old and Middle stone age, which is characterized by Hunter gatherer societies.  We set the end of the Middle Stone Age at 10,000 B.C or B.C.E in modern terms.  The New Stone Age: roughly begins the cultivation of plants and domestication of animals.  This is also called the Neolithic Age or more commonly the Neolithic revolution. 
But how did civilization start.  Well in order to transfer from hunter gatherer to agriculture, you have to grow crops. This requires water.  Obviously you can't grow wheat and barely in a desert.  So how then?
There are two types of agriculture: Rainfall and Irrigation. 
Rainfall agriculture naturally requires rain to fall on the soil in order to grow the crops.  That means you have to rely on the weather to grow your crops.  The place s that used rainfall agriculture were in Iran, Northern Iraq, Northern Syria, and the coastal Mediterranean.  As the book puts it, "A prerequisite for rainfall agriculture is an annual precipitation of at least 250mm.  That means a slight decrease in rainfall will lead to a food crisis, so you can see how very vulnerable these areas are.  If there is a drought you're dead. 
There are two kinds of irrigation, Natural and artificial.  Egypt has natural irrigation because every year the Nile will regularly flood leaving damp soil filled with various silts and particles that create superb fertility.  The Egyptians didn't have to artificially irrigate any of their crops.  Mesopotamia however had irregular floods occurring during the wrong parts of the year, so they had to perform artificial irrigation.  In fact Mesopotamia first utilized the sowing plow to help raise the level of production. 
What makes these civilizations far better, probably why all river valley civilizations are better is the fact of the irrigation.  These civilizations could produce a crop ratio of 15:1 and sometimes even higher than that!  For Greece, Italy, and Medieval Europe the crop ratio was on average 4/5:1 or if it was a good harvest, 7/10:1. 
So once you have a stable way of growing food, a stable agriculture system, now we can develop other crafts emerge such as carpenters, tanners, scribes, and metal workers. 
Some key dates to remember:
3400 B.C the invention of writing occurs
3000 B.C man discovers how to exploit and smelt copper ore and produce bronze a combination of tin and copper.
Once this kind of stability in agriculture occurs, people settle down into villages, which over time turn into city states.  According to my textbook Jericho actually became a full city around 7000 B.C. 
Now let's describe what a Mesopotamian city looks like.  At the core of a Mesopotamian city was the temple which housed the state deity.  These temples grow into organizations that own estates and engaged in activities including agriculture, stock breeding and other various crafts. 
We eventually have two scripts emerge at the invention of writing that occurs between 3400-3200 B.C, Cuneiform and Hieroglyphics. 
There are two kinds of writing that I will mention: pictographic and ideographic
Pictographic - words represented by a picture
Ideographic - words represented by a symbol
Ex. of Pictographic - a picture of a bird meaning bird
Ex. of Ideographic - a heart symbol meaning symbolically love. 
The Egyptian script however renders only consonants, leaving vowels out of the picture.  That's why it's so hard to figure out how the Egyptian language sounds.  Ex.  Ra or Re?  Common battle I see.  Personally I prefer Ra, but I could easily be wrong.  Writing was also only used by small groups of educated people. 
In most cities of this time, the majority of people were peasents who lived in the city.  During the day they would leave the city in order to work in the fields and then return to the city in the evening. 
Agriculturalists - people so lived a sedentary life. 
Herders - nomadic peoples moving around from one place to another. 
Herders will do a seasonal migration called Transhumance usually transferring from winter to summer pastures. 
Both Mesopotamia and Egypt lacked valuable resources such as timber and metals, yet agricultural wise they were very different.  Mesopotamia had to create canals to get their crops grown.  Worse yet the water in the Euphrates and Tigris could contain harmful salts that would damage the crops, unlike the Nile, which left fertile silts and soil deposits. 
There's also another aspect about Egypt that actually makes it safer than Mesopotamia.  In Mesopotamia the fertile land gradually separated from infertile land.  In Egypt you can literally have one foot in the desert and one foot in fertile soil with plants and everything. 
I will talk more about that when I get to the post on how environment influences cultures and lifestyles in society.
That's basically it for this post.  Next post will focus on the third millennium early Bronze age on Egypt.  Take care! 
Starvix Draxon

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Egyptomania: The Defiling of Egyptian Culture

This post is based on my Professor's Essay, "Egyptomania: Have We Cursed the Pharaohs?" by Professor Frank Holt.  This is not to copy his essay but rather reiterate so I can study it for my Midterm in said professor's class.  He's an amazing teacher, outstanding lecturer, and a really funny one too!  If you're doubting, take his class! 
So what exactly is Egyptomania?  Basically it's a consumer culture distortion of Ancient Egyptian Culture.  All those toys involving Ancient Egypt, that's basically Egyptomania.  But it's far worse than that. 
It all started with the great Father of History, Herodotus himself, who described Egypt in such amazing awe.  When Rome takes over Egypt, they actually "import" some of the obelisks out of Egypt.  The Middle Ages passed down the idea that, "mummies possessed magical powers,-"  But now the fascination that Herodotus felt is now far more exotic and mysterious to us.  The culture is several times removed by oh roughly 2,500 years. 
During the Nineteenth century many "businessmen bought them up and charged admission to special shows in which the unfortunate wrecks would be dramatically stripped down to skin and bones." Talk about abuse towards the dead! 
Some people even believed that, "the pyramids were built as astronomical observatories," but apparently the silliness has shifted to the idea that astronauts built them! Ludicrous! 
It really got bad after the Rosetta Stone was found.  Various countries started to loot and fight over these prized artifacts.  Now Egyptian artifacts are all over the world.  My professor said during one of the lectures that if any aliens were to come down from the sky when all of humanity was gone, they were going to have a hard time figuring out why really old artifacts from Egypt appear in every part of the world.  Some will probably get the misconception that Egypt had a vast global empire and then somehow managed to lose all trace of their powerful global empire in a matter of centuries.  The aliens will never get our history straight after that. 
My professor states in his article that, "By coveting the riches of ancient Egypt, we have robbed knowledge as well as a nation.  Much of what archaeologists would like to study in situ has been scattered across the globe.  The material record of Egypt's past has been disturbed and, therefore, its history either distorted or destroyed."  Interesting don't you think? 
Has anyone heard of Cecil B. deMille and his film The Ten Commandments 1923?  Well, this man wrote in his diary that he was very concerned that historians a thousand years from then would  uncover his Egyptian set in Guadalupe and actually think that Egypt extended all the way into California!  That's a little sad that people might actually think that, considering it's just a prop set.  I hope that never happens.  But apparently it's too late!  Archeologists have already, according to the article, spent money in trying to excavate that set.  What a waste of money!!!  What the bloody hell is wrong with those idiots?!?!  It's not even the real deal!  It's just a bloody set!!
My professor is actually concerned with funds for excavations.  According to his article, "funds for United States excavations are vanishing."  Instead we apparently parade Tut's treasures around the country!  Well, say goodbye to Egypt's culture because as we all know, nothing lasts forever.  Things to eventually shatter, break, and erode. 
But if there is anything that is the most defiling it is "The Curse of King Tut's tomb."
It all started with Lord Carnarvon who financed the whole expedition.  He died from a bugbite!  He was already in poor health!  But those vengeful journalists who didn't get to see the newly excavated tomb while New York times got to glut themselves with the great story recovery, fashioned from this incident the legendary "Curse of King Tut's Tomb"  Everyone sat around in the world waiting for who'd be next and it continues to this day!  It's been roughly a century since the excavation and people still think that this "curse" is still active!  I mean...seriously?  People die.  It's apart of life. 
The article continues to list all the abuses that this "curse" has wreaked on poor King Tut, such as a guard filing law suit because he claimed that "Osiris struck him down with a stroke" 
Egyptomania has gone as far as to declare that Egyptians have "ancient jet airplanes" and apparently King Tut died in a plane crash. ....Wow.  That's really sad.  I feel this is what fuels the Stargate Atlantis Egypt version.  I've heard of it, and I'm not to pleased with their defiling of Ra and Anubis two of my favorite gods.  If hardcore science fiction geeks watched that show, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they actually believed this stuff.  Sometimes I worry about society.  I really do.
There's just one more story I need to tell you.  It's the story of the unlucky mummy.  Based on my notes the unlucky mummy caused wailing, managed to somehow wreck entire studies, managed to sink the Titanic and Empress and even the Lusitania while being on board each one of those ships.  It somehow got magically transferred to each ship, and sunk it!  I feel sorry for that unlucky mummy.  If anything's unlucky it's her and the lies that people have laid on her.   
As a reminder this post is based on Professor Frank Holt's article, "Egyptomania: Have We Cursed the Pharaohs?" published in Archaeology March/April 1986
So now you know what Egyptomania is.  I hope this is good enough to understand.  For my next post I will be giving you some of my notes and the text book dealing with the birth of Civilization and the civilizations of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.  See you all next time. 
Starvix Draxon

What is History? Why Study Anything Ancient?

What is History?  And for that matter, Why study anything ancient?  Well first we need to define History!
History is the study of surviving records, and evidence, namely writing, from which historians infer the past.  It is basically the study of the past through written evidence.  This includes the study of people and events through written records. 
Notice how I say written.  Some of you have probably already started to wonder, "What about artifacts and coins and buildings and all that stuff?"  Well that tends to be more of an Archeologist's job rather than a historian.  A historian looks at the written text rather than physical objects.  Those jobs fall under the Archeologist. 
Now it is important to know that we do not have a record of all events.  "What we don't?" That's right!  We do not have every record.  My professor used an example of a historian interviewing us students about himself.  The historian may ask, "What was your history professor wearing on February 11th?" We will probably say something like, "Uuuummmm....." We don't know.  We don't pay attention to every single bit of detail.  That's why there are always gaps in history. 
For example my teacher said they actually found an inscription of ink on stone written by Aristotle.  The moment they took a picture of it, the ink blew away.  What had happened was the paper had degraded and rotted away but the ink remained imprinted on the stone and got buried under tons of sand.  This was found in an uncovered Greek city in Afghanistan.  The past is always a puzzle with pieces missing. 
Now there are various kinds of studies: Epigraphy, Numismatics, Papyrology, and Archeology.  Let me define each one for you. 
Epigraphy - stone writing
Numismatics - coinage studies
Papyrology - papyrus or paper studies
Archeology - material remains
Here's something interesting my Professor told my class.  Historians are very dangerous.  It's not scientists.  It's Historians.  Basically whoever in the present controls the past controls the future.  Interesting, ja? 
But I haven't answered the other key question.  Why study Anything Ancient?  What's more important than the study of World War II, the 20th Century, Modernity, Contemporary Culture, Feminism, Sexual Preference, Civil Rights, and everything else that focuses on mostly 20th 19th Century and a little bit of the Early Modern Period?  How can Ancient History possibly be more important than that? 
Answer: Where to all our fields come from?......I got you there didn't I?  All fields such as Medicine, Writing, History, Philosophy, Government, Economics, Astronomy, Religion, and just about everything else under the sun, comes from Ancient History.  Who do we go to first when studying ethics and Government?  Greece!!!  Aristotle and Plato and Socrates: all in that ancient society!  The first concepts of religion and mythology: Mesopotamia and Egypt!  Great Architecture: Egyptian Pyramids and Greek Columns!  First works of Great Literature, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece! 
To anyone who is from Asia or Northern Europe, this also applies to you as well, but my course only focuses on the birth of these particular civilizations.  They are considered the first few to give birth to the rise of Western Civilization.  All other old civilizations are just as important.  We just don't have the time to learn them in the particular class I am taking. 
There's also something else I want to add that I want to emphasize in particular.  By studying these ancient cultures, you become more accepting of others who have different cultural backgrounds.  I emphasize these ancient cultures because many of them have polytheistic religions and many were a bit I guess is the word.  What I'm trying to say is that by learning an ancient culture, you are keeping it alive, and you are celebrating your cultural heritage whether you are related to it or not.  That's why I am studying and advocate the study of Early Civilizations. 
That's it for the first lecture.  Stay tuned for the next podcast which highlights important moments in my professor's essay, "Egyptomania: Have We Cursed the Pharaohs?" 
Study Ancient History!  You will become a better person if you do! 
Starvix Draxon

A Study Guide for Early Civilizations

Hello everyone!  For the next several posts I will be writing about History.  I am doing this in order to help myself study, so this is not plagiarism.  This is just me trying to study.  Plus I'm sure you'll find this all informative.  So...good luck! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Contemporary American Fiction

So I took a class on Contemporary American Fiction at the University of Houston taught by a really good English Professor, who is an amazing lecturer and teacher.  I really enjoyed listening to what he had to say. 
Anyway.  You're probably wondering, what books did I read.  To that I will list the books in the following order that we read them in. 
1) White Noise by Don Dellilo
2) New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
3) Music For Torching by A. M. Holmes
4) Catfish and Mandala by Andrew Pham
5) Jesus Saves by Darcey Steinke
6) Fight Club by Chuck Palaniuk
7) Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones
8) In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders
9) 10:01 by Lance Olsen
10) AVA by Carol Maso
My favorites are New York Trilogy, Fight Club, and 10:01.  Sometimes In Persuasion Nation and AVA are in my favorites.

You're probably wondering, what is Contemporary American Fiction.  In order to define that we need to ask ourselves another question: What is postmodern literature?

To tell you the truth, I'm still trying to figure it out, because there seem to be various definitions in how to define it and none of it is consistent.  Basically what my professor taught us is that postmodern literature basically:

1) Deals with the problems of consumer culture
2) Deals with the problems of media and hyperreality. 
3) Deals with the grand narrative and how we cannot have one truth but many truths
4) Deals with the concept of chance rather than determined fate of events
5) Deals with the idea of an unresolved ending, unresolved question, just merely ends

That's the basics of it.  I hope I haven't misinterpreted what he has told me.  Very interesting concept and all.  If you apply these definitions to the books listed above and read closely you will see those hidden concepts emerge from the text.  Each book is unique unto itself and I highly recommend reading my favorites. 

I like New York Trilogy because of the language.  It takes the New York mystery story and takes it somewhere entirely else, on a road of language, religion, and unresolved story matters. 

Fight Club deals with the idea of the loss of masculinity inside a consumer culture.  In a desire to escape the repetitive boring feminine system society as created, the two main characters create a Fight Club to feel the surge of masculine bravado, only to create another system, one that it is in fact militaristic and brainwashing.  You'll like the twist near the end, I won't spoil it. 

10:01 is a series of vignettes, short little moments in the first ten minutes of the movie theater.  Each vignettes enters inside each movie goer's head, each stylistically different, sometimes so surreal.  One vignette even enters the screenplay formatting into one characters mind blurring the boundaries between screenplay and Fiction. 

Well that's it for now.  I'll talk more about these books at another time and go more in depth into their messages.  For now, I need to do some homework.  Keep reading everyone. 

Starvix Draxon 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Arts

This course basically shows how art, film, music, dance, performance, and writing and theater, come into play and make interesting works of art.  The class consisted of presentations from students on various artists, discussions on the artist and the readings assigned about that particular artist, writing reflective journal entries about our discussion and other art events that we went to, and then create project proposal that shows collaboration, interdisciplinary work, budget, location, the theory behind the project etc.  This was by far my favorite course. 
Here's a list of the artists. 
Black Mountain College(Josef Albers taught there)
John Cage
Merce Cunningham
Bill T. Jones
Robert Rauschenberg
Jasper Johns
Allan Kaprow
Maya Deren
Allen Ginsberg
Jay Defeo
Jack Karouach
Jack Smith
Anna Mendieta
Judy Chicago
Joan Jonas
Barbara Hammer
Grand Fury
David Wojnarowicz
Harry Gamboa Jr.
Patssi Valdez
Marina Abromavic
My favorites were Maya Deren, Anna Mendieta, Judy Chicago, Joan Jonas, and Marina Abromavic. 
What I like about these few is their approach to their art.  I don't approach it from any feminine perspective.  In other words, I just view them as who they are: Artists, regardless of what gender they are.  Maya Deren and Joan Jonas deal with film and performance.  Anna Mendieta covered herself in various things to get in touch spiritually with nature.  Judy Chicago is known well for her Dinner Party, and Various tapestries of feminine Creationism and drawings on masculinity.  Marina Abromavic is known for her performance work, and trust me it is bizarre yet powerfully emotional. We watched a documentary on her, where she would stare at people who would come and sit in front of her.  I watched that documentary way too intensely because I left class feeling very depressed and unhappy.  The amount of people that began to cry while staring at her...unbelievable.  I'm not sure what it means but maybe the reason those people cried is because they are not listened to in real life and so maybe when they are stared at, they are finally being listened to.  It's so overwhelming that they begin to cry.  That's my theory at least. 

So take a look at these artists' work.  Each one is really interesting. 

Starvix Draxon 

Maleficent Trailer

I lost count to the amount of times I've watched this trailer.  All I can tell you all is that I am super psyched to see this film.  Finally we humanize Maleficent as a sympathetic villain.  At last we get another trailer.  This is really the only film I want to see this year, besides How to Train Your Dragon 2.  Anyway, here's the trailer.  Enjoy. 

Maleficent Teaser Trailer

Here's the Malificent Teaser Trailer.  Hope you enjoy! 

A Mesopotamian Ritual

According to history textbook I'm reading for my Early Civilizations Course, in Mesopotamia the king would have sex with the high priestess in order to giver fertility to the land and ensure a good harvest.  Pretty interesting, ja?  That could be a could plot conflict for a story......

Anyway that's your Mesopotamian Ritual for the day!

The history textbook is An Introduction to the Ancient World by L. De Blois and R.J. Van Der Spek Second Edition. 

Title Change

As you can see I've changed the title of the blog from Fantasia into Starvix Draxon's Datalog.  You're probably wondering why I would do such a horrific thing.  Well, I have a couple of reasons. 

1) Fantasia is not very marketable.  If you type Fantasia in the search engine, you will not find my blog.  Instead you will probably find things relating to the Fantasia movies or other miscellaneous boulderdash that makes utterly no sense.  To reemphasize this point, I will say it again.  There is no way in Heaven or Hell or even in Tartarus that you will find my blog with that name. 

2) Starvix Draxon's Datalog is literally more of a Datalog.  Since I am Starvix Draxon, anyone interested in finding Starvix Draxon will find me immediately in this blog.  It will also help fellow artists find my deviant art account which will show them all my horrible drawings. (They're not that horrible but they are a beginner's work and they're all mechanical pencil drawn.)  So if anyone is interested in what I have drawn.  All you have to do is go to my deviant art account. 

3) People will also discover that I had an older blog called Starvix's Magic Journal.  When they see it, they will see that the last post was published on 4/27/2012.  That journal is defunct.  I no longer use it.  This blog has been far more successful even though I rarely update it, and I also have had more fun with this blog and will continue to do so.  Besides this one I like better.  It fits me more and it uses my full Pen name.  I decided to turn this blog more into a journal rather than a news source on the latest and greatest news for Games, Films, and Books.  If you haven't discovered already I am a terrible news reporter.  By the time something is out, I've already forgot to put a post on it.  Because of this I have decided to turn it into a journal so I do not have the pressure of failing to keep up with current Fantasy news.  If there is something interesting I will indeed post it.  But let me turn this into a more personal journal like datalog. 

4) Datalog is the word for Journal in Final Fantasy XIII.  Anyone typing in Datalog might run into this blog.  I of course doubt it but you never know.

5) I hope to use this as an Author's blog when I become a published Author, playwright, screenwriter etc. 

Well I hope these are reasons enough.  I hope you like the new title.  I'm thinking of changing the format background style or whatever it's called.  Looks a wee bit too dark for me.  The text sort of hurts my eyes.  I'll only change it if I find a better font.  Anyway that's all for me.  Keep reading everyone. 

Starvix Draxon

Dream Character Roles

Just so everyone knows I am also an actor.  I figured if anyone was curious as to what my dream character roles for theater and film it would be the following. 

The Phantom from Phantom of the Opera
Macbeth in Macbeth on stage or film is fine.  I would love to perform in both. 
I'd love to play Romeo in Romeo and Juliet but that will probably never happen. 
Peter Grimes from the Opera Peter Grimes, if I ever go back into opera that is. 
A male singing lead in an operatic music theater where the story revolves around this male singer and he gets all the good amazing songs in the whole musical. 
A Fantasy villain, a complex villain mind you.  I want to be worse than Voldemort but very much human in certain ways, a villain that you both hate and love. 
A Fantasy hero with a complex story line, who possibly wavers in his goodness. 
A Psychopath because they're very complex characters.  It's very interesting to get into the head of such a person and wonder why they do what they do. 
I hope to either play Prospero or Ariel from the Tempest. 
I'd love to play Woyzeck in Woyzeck.  That was a fun play.  I actually performed the Charlatan in that play. I would love to get into the surreal psychological aspects of Woyzeck. 

That's all I can think of at the moment.  I'm actually not that play literate much to my dismay.  I hope this summer I can get a hold of a bunch of variety of plays and read them. 

Anyway those are basically what I want to play if I ever go back into acting.  As you can see for the most part I've selected characters that have complex psychological aspects that make their character aspects very interesting.  I love complexity.  I've always wanted to play the villain you see.  They're fun and naturally far more complex.  That's why I'd give anything to play Charlize Theron's version of the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Hunsman.  Well that's all I have to say.  Keep reading!

Starvix Draxon

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why I do not Like Anne McAfferey's Dragonflight

A very simple couple of reasons as to why I did not like her story Dragonflight. 

Her world was very inconsistent.  When her dragons apparently speak through the mind, its either in a strange form of exposition or it's italicized as if it were actual dialogue.  That's really inconsistent. 

I felt no compassion for Lessa.  She doesn't stand up for herself.  There are clear moments when there are possible conflicts, but McAfferery doesn't take those possible conflicts anywhere.  She doesn't create raw emotion. 

She uses time travel in a phrase called going "between."  I do not understand the aspects of time travel.  I've never liked Time Travel.  It's too confusing.  Final Fantasy XIII-2 does it better, (I think) and in general I always get confused when writers bring in time travel.  It just doesn't make any sense in my head.  This is the reason I really don't like the book. 

I feel the dialogue is rather...dull. 

I wanted there to be more dramatic tension.  And as a pet peeve of mine, I don't like the fact that the dragons aren't as important characters as the main characters.  We never see any emotional development in the dragons.  They are just as an important of a character as any other human. 

And that's why I don't like Anne McAfferey's Dragonflight.

Maya Deren: Meshes of the Afternoon

Here is a video of one of my favorite artists/filmmakers, Maya Deren's Meshes of the afternoon.  In this film Maya Deren uses a circular plot narrative, creating a broken record effect.  This technique defies the typical linear narrative that has a beginning a middle and an end.  She also utilizes dance in her film production.  No speech.  Only movement.  I think everyone should see her works and read her Anagram.  So here it is.  "Meshes of the Afternoon"

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Hey everyone!  I notice I get a lot of views from Russia, the UK, and Germany, and of course other countries as well.  Thanks for the constant viewings.  I do apologize for the lack of posts.  I promised a lot of book critiques and I have given none.  To answer why, I decided to tell you that I am now a college student. 
Yes.  I go to the University of Houston.  That's all I will tell you.  Well I'll add that I'm majoring in English and following my heart's dream of being a Writer.  I have already succeeded with my play, A Dragon's Tail. It was a great learning experience. 
Now in my second semester of college, things have been somewhat bleak.  I have not published a single short story, I'm questioning the validation of Creative Writing classes, and I have become intrigued by the study of literature. 
I have not published, I have not even published my play.  I stare at things I have written and curse them for not being the way I intended and beg them constantly to please work with me!  I get frustrated with my writing because usually, once I have written that start to finish first draft, maybe editing for grammar errors and better ways to say something, I end up not knowing what to do with it.  I stare at it and curse at it, trying desperately to figure out, how do I fix this story?  Now recently I had some ideas for two short stories I am working on.  I actually have four short stories that I have typed first drafts for.  These two or at least one in particular, I have thought of an idea that I would like to implement.  Here's the problem: School Work!
The sacrifices one makes for the pursuit of knowledge.  Believe me it's really tough.  But it is also rewarding.  Just last semester I took a course on Contemporary American Fiction.  We had to read ten books.  Ten Books!  Zehn Bucher!(Forgive me.  I don't know how to put the umlaut on to the 'u' on this blog) Ten!  I have never read ten books in roughly three months!  And let me tell you; it was strenuous but absoulutely rewarding.  Of those ten books I now have I believe three maybe four favorites out of those ten books.  Heck I will write a post about those books I read.  We talked about things regarding consumerism, postmodernism, style,  themes, Grand Narratives, etc.  All of this was very thought provoking and somewhat disturbing.  I'll write you guys a post on it. 
I also took another mind bending class.  It's called Introduction to Interdisciplinary Art.  In this class we studied various artists that broke boundaries.  Heck in fact, I'll write a post about some of things I remember in the class. 
Creativity wise this semester I have hit a road block.  I am conflicted because I must devote my strong sudden interest in literary studies full attention.  There's a lot of reading this semester.  I'm not taking any creative writing class. It seems as though I do not have time to be the least bit creative.  However, I have decided to use this blog as a substitute.  Oh and I am in an Honors play, so at least I'm acting again. 
I'm going to write a couple of posts and change the purpose of this blog.  What?!  Change purpose?!  Change Focus?!  What the hell is wrong with you?!?!  I thought this was supposed to be about Fantasy!  And it still will be.  I'm shifting gears to allow myself to write about other things for a couple of reasons. 
1) I can't keep up with all the gaming news and film news and such. 
2) I can't keep up with all the news because I have academic and school related priorities that must be attended to first. 
3) To be honest I'd rather write about something else: In the sense that I would like to broaden the topic range so that I can show you guys some new ideas. 
Never fear!  I will still write about Fantasy related things.  But it's going to be different.  I'm going to bring in new topics, using literary discussion and references.  I will apply those literary stuff to the Fantasy books I read.  I will also write about some of the artists, new stuff that I have read.  But it will all be approached differently.  I'm even thinking of renaming the name of this blog.  We will see about that of course.  I feel as though it needs to have my name in it in order for it to be recognizable.  Like I said, we shall see. 
I want to show you guys the neat ideas that I am learning.  I want to set the stage for myself.  It's also that I have not run this blog professionally and to me that's a problem.  I want to be posting and blogging, not blogging writing, and showing the world my ideas.  That's why I intend to write you guys a series of posts that will show you what I want to do.  I hope then that because I am branching out into other topics that I will bring more people to this blog and show them what I have learned.  Believe me!  There is nothing like knowledge.  With this, get ready for hopeful a slew of posts that will excite you.  Get ready.  Let the show begin. 
Starvix Draxon